I love books. It’s no secret, I practically devour the words in hours so I’m always on the look out for a new book. Recently, I’ve been reading some non-fiction. I’ve really enjoyed it and I wanted to learn more about British History this year, so today my lovely husband treated me to a few new books from Waterstones.
If Walls Could Talk – Lucy Worsley
This book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while now. I quite like Lucy Worsley, she does lots of history documentaries on BBC2 and BBC4, I recently picked up another of her books – A Very British Murder. When you watch her on television, you really feel her passion for the subject and I think that makes it much more interesting.
If Walls Could Talk is an intimate history of the home.
Through the bedrrom, bathroom, living room and kitchen acclaimed historian Lucy Worsley explores how people really lived, loved and died from medieval times to the present day – and also makes you see your home with new eyes.
I am really looking forward to getting stuck into this book.
Bedlam, London and It’s Mad – Catharine Arnold
The mad have always been with us. Bethlehem Hospital, or “Bedlam” as is became in cockney slang, is the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital. Founded in 1247 it developed from a ramshackle hovel to the magnificent “Palace Beautiful”, where visitors could pay to gawp at the chained inmates, through to the great Victorian hospital in Lambeth now the Imperial War Museum.
Catharine Arnold takes us on a tour of Bedlam and examines London’s attitude to madness along the way. We travel through the ages, from the barbaric ‘exorcisms’ of the medieval period to the Tudor belief that a roast mouse, eaten whole was the cure. We see the reforming zeal of eighteenth century campaigners and the development of the massive Victorian asylums. This was the era of the private madhouse, run by ‘traders in lunacy’ who asked no questions and locked up insane and sane alike at the behest of greedy relatives. But it was also the age of the determined reformers who eventually made their way into Bedlam and exposed conditions of terrible deprivation and brutality.
I’m really interested in the history of medicine and hospitals so I think I will really enjoy this book. It appears to combine factual research with first hand accounts so I think I will learn alot from Bedlam, London and It’s Mad.
How to be a Tudor, A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Everyday Life – Ruth Goodman.
You should know that I adore Ruth Goodman, I’ve watched all of her TV shows, from Victorian Pharmacy through to Wartime Farm, she gets stuck into whatever she is doing, she completely embraces and immerses herself in the period so you are completely able to live and experience the history with her. I’m reading one of her other books at the moment and it is thoroughly enjoyable. She writes with such passion.
The Tudor era encompasses some of the greatest changes in our history, but while we know about the historical dramas of the times – most notably in the court of Henry VIII – what was life really like for common people?
To answer this question, the renowned ‘method historian’ Ruth Goodman has slept, washed and cooked as the Tudors did – so you don’t have to! She is your expert guide to this fascinating era, drawing on years or practical historical study to show how our ancestors coped with everyday life, from how they slept to how they courted.
Using a vast range of sources, she takes you back to the time when soot was used as a toothpaste and the ‘upper crust’ of bread was served to the wealthier members of the house – revealing what it felt, smelt and tasted like from morning until night.
I generally prefer history from the 1800’s onwards, so I’m bringing myself out of my reading comfort zone a bit with this book, but I am excited to read it and expand my knowledge!
Would you give any of these non-fiction books a read? What books have you picked up recently? Get in touch below.